From Simi Valley, California, December 2011's totally eclipsed Moon hung just a few degrees above the western horizon.
There’s a total lunar eclipse happening across all of North America the night of Sunday, September 27th.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the full Moon passes through the dark inner core of the Earth’s shadow, which is called the umbra.
In recent years, the term Blood Moon has become popular when referring to total lunar eclipses. When the Earth eclipses a full Moon, the direct sunlight is blocked, but the sun’s rays still light up the moon. This light, however, has traveled through the Earth’s atmosphere first, and that sometimes causes the totally eclipsed Moon to look red or brownish.
It Starts Not Long After Dinner
The eclipse will start to be noticeable a bit after 8:00 PM ET (it actually begins at 8:11 PM) when the Moon’s leading edge enters Earth’s penumbra, the outer portion of its shadow.
Initially the affect is not especially noticeable — you won’t start to see a dusky fringe along the Moon’s leading edge (known to astronomers as its “celestial east”) until the the moon intrudes about halfway across the penumbra. As the Moon glides deeper into the penumbra and approaches the umbra, the shading effect of the Earth’s shadow on the appearance of the moon becomes much more obvious.
The total eclipse begins at 9:11 PM ET when the moon is completely within the Earth’s shadow.
From the Moon’s perspective, the Sun remains completely hidden for 59 minutes, ending at 11:23. From Earth’s perspective, the lunar disk isn’t completely blacked out but instead remains dimly lit by a deep orange or red glow— but it’s easy to think the moon’s completely missing if you don’t look closely.
You can do the math and see the timing is a little less friendly for readers on the west coast.
Watch Online If Your Local Weather Doesn’t Cooperate
If the weather isn’t so nice, or you just prefer to watch from bed, SLOOH will broadcast a live webcast of the total lunar eclipse. The webcast will start at 6:00 PM. EDT and you can watch it by clicking here.
Regardless of the hour, you’ll not regret making time to catch one of nature’s best shows!
What are your plans for watching the eclipse? We’re planning to keep the kids up here…